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Naturist Terms Explained


Canuding: A slang term for canoeing while nude.

Clothing Optional (CO): A designation for areas or events in which clothes may or may not be worn.

Cottontail: A slang referring to someone who is a newcomer to a naturist venue, made in reference to the uneven tanning on their buttocks.

FCN: An acronym of the Federation of Canadian Naturists

Free Beach: A beach where nudity is sanctioned or at least tolerated without penalty.

Free Hiking: Hiking while nude.

Freikörperkultur (FKK): A German movement whose name translates to free body culture. It endorses a naturistic approach to sports and community living.

Fédération québécoise de naturisme (FQN): A naturist organization that serves the residents of Quebec. Regarded as a sister organization of the Federation of Canadian Naturists, these two groups co-represent Canadian naturists in the International Naturist Federation.

Going Natural: The official publication of the Federation of Canadian Naturists.

Gymno: A combining form derived from Greek, meaning ‘naked’, ‘bare’, or ‘exposed’. Used in compound words such as ‘gymnasium’

Gymnophobia: A fear of nakedness. For example, naturist advocates may describe regulations and policies that prohibit nudity as gymnophobic.

International Naturist Federation (INF): An organization is based in Europe and is made up of member naturist organizations from over 45 countries.

Landed Club: A naturist club that owns property.

Naturism: A way of life in harmony with nature, characterized by the practice of social nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others, and the environment. This term is considered by some to be interchangeable with the term ‘nudism’. However, ‘naturism’ is more often used in a context that places a greater emphasis on philosophy and values.

Nudism: A lifestyle in which activities are done without clothing. This term is similar to naturism and regarded by some to be interchangeable. However, the terms ‘nudism’ and ‘nudist’ are often used in the context of activities, particularly recreation.

Non-Landed Club: A naturist club that does not own property. These clubs usually organize events at a variety of rented indoor facilities and natural areas.

Nudist Colony – An outdated term that was ascribed to naturist and nudist venues. This term was typically used by non-naturists and often incorrectly applied. Alternatively, other terms, including ‘naturist club’ and ‘nudist resort’, are recommended.

Textile: A term adapted by naturists to describe locations or events in which clothes are mandatory. This term may also be applied to people to distinguish them from naturists, as in “The clothing-optional beach is used by a mix of nudists and textiles.”

Top-free: The preferred term for what is commonly referred to as topless, which is intended to distinguish it from the type of activities associated with strip bars.


Nude or Naked?

When discussing a person’s state of undress among naturists, which is the appropriate word to use: ‘nude’ or ‘naked’? In terms of dictionary definitions, these words are very similar in their meaning. However, there has historically been a difference between these two words in a cultural context. Individuals who are described as ‘nude’ are typically those who freely chose to be unclothed. Being naked, on the other hand, has often been associated with being compromised, embarrassed, or ashamed. In light of these associations, naturists have traditionally referred to their state of undress as ‘nude’. In the past, those who were not familiar with naturist culture might have been politely corrected if they used the word ‘naked’. However, over the years there has been a subtle shift in usage of the word ‘naked’ among some naturists. It may be used somewhat playfully, expressed without suggesting embarrassment or shame. So, while it is still considered proper etiquette in naturist culture to refer to an unclothed person as ‘nude’, it is not necessarily considered a faux pas to describe them as ‘naked’ either.


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